Greenhouse gas emissions from sub-tropical agricultural soils after addition of organic by-products

Nguyen, Dai H., Biala, Johannes, Grace, Peter R., Scheer, Clemens, & Rowlings, David W. (2014) Greenhouse gas emissions from sub-tropical agricultural soils after addition of organic by-products. SpringerPlus, 3(491).

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As the cost of mineral fertilisers increases globally, organic soil amendments (OAs) from agricultural sources are increasingly being used as substitutes for nitrogen. However, the impact of OAs on the production of greenhouse gases (CO2 and N2O) is not well understood. A 60-day laboratory incubation experiment was conducted to investigate the impacts of applying OAs (equivalent to 296 kg N ha−1 on average) on N2O and CO2 emissions and soil properties of clay and sandy loam soils from sugar cane production. The experiment included 6 treatments, one being an un-amended (UN) control with addition of five OAs being raw mill mud (MM), composted mill mud (CM), high N compost (HC), rice husk biochar (RB), and raw mill mud plus rice husk biochar (MB). These OAs were incubated at 60, 75 and 90% water-filled pore space (WFPS) at 25°C with urea (equivalent to 200 kg N ha−1) added to the soils thirty days after the incubation commenced. Results showed WFPS did not influence CO2 emissions over the 60 days but the magnitude of emissions as a proportion of C applied was RB < CM < MB < HC <MM. Nitrous oxide emissions were significantly less in the clay soil compared to the sandy loam at all WFPS, and could be ranked RB <MB <MM<CM < UN < HC. These results led to linear models being developed to predict CO2 and N2O emissions as a function of the dry matter and C/N ratio of the OAs, WFPS, and the soil CEC. Application of RB reduced N2O emissions by as much as 42-64% depending on WFPS. The reductions in both CO2 and N2O emissions after application of RB were due to a reduced bioavailability of C and not immobilisation of N. These findings show that the effect of OAs on soil GHG emissions can vary substantially depending on their chemical properties. OAs with a high availability of labile C and N can lead to elevated emissions of CO2 and N2O, while rice husk biochar showed potential in reducing overall soil GHG emissions.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 76464
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1186/2193-1801-3-491
ISSN: 2193-1801
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES (070000)
Divisions: Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Nguyen et al.;
Copyright Statement: licensee Springer. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction
in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.
Deposited On: 02 Oct 2014 00:55
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 17:01

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